More Training Articles
Table of Contents

I've arranged these articles in a kind of 'secondary menu', because there's so much here that I needed a way to ensure that people were reading the more basic/beginner stuff first.  If you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask... when people ask me questions, it forces me to think about the way I explain things, and how to make the explanations easier to understand, for beginners and those more used to using this training methodology.   Remember that training is FUN.  It's a game: you have fun, and your dog has fun.  Laughing and barking is not only allowed, it's encouraged.

Brenda R.

Articles of Management 

Management is a very important aspect of teaching/training… it’s important to both deny access to situations which prove to be “too much” for the training/skill level, while providing means of gaining reinforcement for appropriate behaviors. This “denying access” is called management.  This article will help you to find ways to manage your dog's behavior so that you can find ways to teach what you need him to know.

 

Leave It!  sometimes it's just not reasonable to expect him to disregard Really Cool Stuff, like deer droppings, really nasty half-rotted garbage, and strange dog butts.​  The 'leave it!' cue helps to give you what you need to be able to remove the yukky stuff when the worst happens!

 

Off! If your dog jumps up on people, or other dogs (humping), or furniture, this one allows you to control it.

Drop It! This cue is called a release cue, and it allows you to remove anything from your dog's mouth. It's a great cue to use if your dog guards toys or chewies (with caveats),   It's used in retrieving, and it's used in tug-of-war and other games, as well.

Speak! Teaching this way isn't really teaching the dog not to bark at *all*... rather, you're teaching the dog to bark, then come to you for reinforcement. You're teaching partial redirection.

Settle As with other commands, this one requires regular work to retain its value. You may want to do some "brush-up" work for the few days prior to a vet appointment.

Wait! This cue allows you to get out of the car, and get yourself together, before getting the dog out, or can allow you to get your house keys out of your purse while standing at the front door holding 3 bags of groceries, your purse, your house keys, and the dog's leash.

 

Teaching Your Pet to like Grooming All facets of your dog's grooming should be made to be a relaxing, pleasurable experience for him -- it's a bonding process.

Dogs Greeting Humans at the Front Door Being able to greet humans appropriately and calmly is one of those behaviors that seem to apply circular logic: he has to be calm in order to greet, but he has to greet in order to calm down. {grin} With patience, you can do this, I promise!

Greeting Humans On-Leash Think of greeting behavior on the same level as you do taking your children out to a restaurant: if you don't take them to restaurants, you'll never be *able* to take them to restaurants -- they won't know how to behave!

Tricksy Training Tricks aren't just for fun... some of this stuff has practical application in everyday life!  Click a hyperlink below to learn how to teach these tricks:

Tricks Page 1

Tricks Page 2

Tricks Page 3

Tricks Page 4

 

Learning to Learn:  the following set of articles will give you what you need to understand what's happening as you train your dog.  If you have any questions or problems, please use the Forum so that everyone can learn (including me!)

Intro: Your dog needs firm, gentle, loving leadership in order to be a productive member of your family.  Every dog needs this type of guidance -- not just yours!   This series of articles will teach you simple, humane, non-violent ways to teach your dog the basic tools necessary for co-existing with humans.  Treat your dog with respect, kindness, and love -- and you'll get the same in return.  If your dog "mugs" you when you show interest, let me know, and we'll work on that... but don't be afraid to have some fun with your dog, either... one of the biggest mistakes I see with owners is that they take themselves too seriously... lighten up, and have fun!!

Nuts & Bolts  I’m here to teach you a little about non-force training philosophy, with a basis in clicker training. We’re not going to get hung up on all the technical jargon and theory… this is a beginner course. We’re going to concentrate on the “how-to” aspects of clicker training, and what you can expect from it.

Training Collars There are so many different types of collars available – it’s important to think about why there are so many different types. This article will help you with this frustrating decision: which training collar for your dog? Collar types have evolved right along with training methods.

Attention Before you can effectively train your dog, you need to make sure his attention is focused on you. Training for attention simply means that your dog will be taught to look at you on-cue -- hopefully conditioned to the point where all other distractions become "background noise".  Believe it or not, this is a very simple procedure.

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Crate Training  There are pros and cons to using crates, just as with any other training tool.   There is a crate in my dining room, kept open all the time.  It has a big squishy bed in it, and the dog and cats can often be found napping in it.  Learn how to teach your pets to see their crate this way, and you’ll never be without a way to manage their behavior!

The Weekly Lessons 

 

The following lessons are provided as a means to guide you through the progression of exercises that would occur in weekly hands-on classes.  If you want to teach your dog at home, they’ll provide you with a basic ‘how to’ guide to get you over some of the humps we can encounter in training.  Don't be afraid to stray from the 'script' in order to get and hold your dog's interest.  Ask questions on the Forum, and I'll get back to you!

Week 1  During this first week, both you and your dog are often learning that something different is happening… you’re both learning that this ‘training game’ is fun, and happy!  Both of you are learning how this bargain works, and what has to happen from each of you to make it REAL.  Remember to smile (yes, your dog can see your smile!)  It’s good to talk to your dog, although you might want to tone down the enthusiasm, especially if you’re working with a rescued dog (we don’t often know their history, especially so far as the training methodology goes!)  Keep your finger on the pulse constantly, gauging your dog’s responses, and be okay with testing the waters with different (non-punitive) approaches to changing behaviors.  In all of this, you and your dog will start learning the basics of ‘sit’, ‘down’, and the other basic cues used in companion obedience.

Week 2  This week, both you and your dog are continuing to learn how the Training Bargain works, and you’re also learning how to ‘shape’ behavior, a powerful way to move your dog from a tiny ‘piece’ of the behavior you’re looking for, to the more polished end behavior.  It’s not as difficult as it sounds, I promise!  You'll smile a lot more this week, as you witness your dog learning how powerful this methodology is!

Week 3   This is where you start learning (both you and your dog) to generalize the behaviors you’ve started to learn in the first couple of weeks… start first inside, then move to locations outside.  First, without any distractions, then with distractions (first inside, then outside).  Remember to increase the value of the reward for more difficult scenarios, and then ‘back off’ in this value as the behavior becomes more instilled… only to increase the value again when introducing more distractions.  This part can be harder to understand (for the human), but if you play with it, you’ll get it.   Move slowly, and be prepared to ‘back up’ in the progression of exercises at the first inkling that you may have progressed too quickly.  Everyone (including your dog) learns at different rates, and in different ways.  Take your time, and remember to enjoy it!

Week 4  These exercises incorporate DISTANCE into the cue/command.  Until now, you and your dog have been learning how the training game works when you’re Right There… now, you’ll start to learn that the cues and commands mean the same thing, no matter the distance between you!

Week 5  In this set of exercises, it’s time to take all your hard work ‘on the road’… you’ll want to choose locales that are new, but boring at first.  For example, if you choose a grocery store parking lot, go to the outer perimeter and S-L-O-W-L-Y work your way to more exciting areas, like near the store front, over the next couple of weeks.  Let your dog see (and he will!) that a certain level of behavior allows him to move more closely to the busier areas.

Week 6  In this phase, you will continue to “take it on the road” so the dog learns that each cue means the same thing as it does at home, even in new, distracting situations, and on different surfaces.  This phase can last the rest of your (and your dog's) life.  At this point, you don't have to do the exercises every day (but it's FUN, so do it if you'd like!)  Once every week or 2 will keep you both at this level, so that you’re just “touching up”.  Have FUN!!

Cat Stuff

I own 3 now, and I've had cats all my life... they're not like dogs.  Seriously.

New Articles Coming Soon! 

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